Does Doubting God’s Word Lead to Fewer Salvation’s and Baptisms

Posted: June 15, 2013 in Personal Evangelism

“It’s like our people lost confidence in the old evangelistic programs that our churches had been using for years and years,” said Rainer, reached by telephone this week during the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, held this year in Houston. “That’s understandable, but the problem is that they never bought into anything new and moved on.”

This sea change is directly linked to a recent statistic that should be causing “sorrow and rising concern” throughout America’s largest Protestant flock, he said.

At the most recent Southern Baptist Convention it was reported and as well on blogs by leading SBC leaders, baptisms are down. This also means that Southern Baptists are seeing fewer salvations, i.e. people coming to a faith in Christ.

We must ask ourselves what has moved Southern Baptists to a new all time low in the 21st century. Well there was the church planting movement. Some of the key leadership of this movement made statements such as “Church Plants have more baptisms than existing churches.” As reported in Baptist Press News and at the Southern Baptist convention we have more churches in existence. So where are the baptisms.

Another explanation is the reformed theology movement which espouses some are chosen by God to be saved and we would hope also follow Jesus in believers baptism. That leads to the next question Why would God choose to have more baptisms in the 70’s era and less now. Just a question, if the above belief system is a viable truth.

Have Southern Baptist lost their respect and trust in God’s Holy Word? The Bible does contain methods for evangelism, and especially the New Testament. We read that Jesus went to people’s homes to dine and explain forgiveness of sin of a known prostitute. He went to the home of a tax collector who was cheating people out of their money and witnessed to him. Making home visits is a biblical approach for evangelism.

What about street preaching or handing out gospel tracts, are they a biblical method?  We find in the Bible God’s called men proclaiming and communicating God’s message to people in various group meetings and before city and government officials. The apostles went out into the streets of Jerusalem to proclaim the gospel after God poured out His Spirit on men. Would we call this Spirit-led evangelism?

What about Philip, when the Holy Spirit moved him from a vibrant evangelism missionary journey in Samaria to the desert to engage the lost Ethiopian Treasurer and explain what the scroll of Isaiah meant. He engaged a total stranger to explain the gospel. God didn’t tell him to go build a relationship with the man over the next six months to a year before telling him about the risen Jesus!

If gospels tracts had been available to the believers of the early church they would have passed out tracts to distribute the gospel to the masses. The early church was totally sold out to Jesus and if they were willing to die for their faith, then there was no method of evangelism out of the question.

Think of it as the Baptist bottom line: Local churches reported 314,959 baptisms in 2012, a sharp 5.5 percent downturn from 2011.

Baptisms have declined six out of the last 10 years, falling to the SBC’s lowest number since 1948. So what conclusion can we deduct from the facts today. Are Southern Baptists backslidden? Are they doubting God’s Word? Who has lied to Southern Baptists saying that evangelism methods found in the Bible do not work any more. If God’s Word is true and trustworthy and relevant today as it was when God spoke it, then the approaches in the Bible are trustworthy. God forbid anyone would say that they are not for in making such a statement that person is denying the Word of God.

For the SBC to see a <st1:bcv_smarttag>Acts 2 movement again. For Christians to impact lost people as we read in the book of Acts again. To give someone reason to say, “They are the ones who are unsettling the world with their message,” <st1:bcv_smarttag>Acts 17:6, we must repent of our sin of doubting God’s Word, (this was Eve’s problem and sin before eating the fruit). We must return to trusting God with all abandonment and proclaim the Word of God in fearlessness and passionately expecting God to save lost people by His Word, by His Spirit and by His witnesses.

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